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[pur-puh n-dik-yuh-ler] /ˌpɜr pənˈdɪk yə lər/
vertical; straight up and down; upright.
Geometry. meeting a given line or surface at right angles.
maintaining a standing or upright position; standing up.
having a sharp pitch or slope; steep.
(initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to the last style of English Gothic architecture, prevailing from the late 14th through the early 16th century and characterized by the use of predominantly vertical tracery, an overall linear, shallow effect, and fine intricate stonework.
a perpendicular line or plane.
an instrument for indicating the vertical line from any point.
an upright position.
a sharply pitched or precipitously steep mountain face.
moral virtue or uprightness; rectitude.
Nautical. either of two lines perpendicular to the keel line, base line, or designed water line of a vessel.
Origin of perpendicular
1350-1400; < Latin perpendiculāris vertical, equivalent to perpendicul(um) plumb line (see perpend2, -i-, -cule2) + -āris -ar1; replacing Middle English perpendiculer(e) (adj. and adv.) < Old French perpendiculiere
Related forms
perpendicularity, perpendicularness, noun
perpendicularly, adverb
nonperpendicular, adjective, noun
nonperpendicularly, adverb
nonperpendicularity, noun
unperpendicular, adjective
unperpendicularly, adverb
1. standing. See upright. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for perpendicularly
Historical Examples
  • Others were of a lighter frame covered with clapboards, or in Delaware with boards pinned on perpendicularly.

    Home Life in Colonial Days Alice Morse Earle
  • There are two paladins who can be cut in half, one horizontally and other perpendicularly.

    Diversions in Sicily H. Festing Jones
  • The dense cloud, looked at perpendicularly to its axis, showed scarcely any signs of polarisation.

  • Knots to inch horizontally six to nine; perpendicularly, eight to fourteen.

    Oriental Rugs Walter A. Hawley
  • The banks of the creek rose fifteen feet, or more, perpendicularly from constant floods, and often these banks were over-running.

    The Long Dim Trail Forrestine C. Hooker
  • Knots to inch horizontally eleven to twenty; perpendicularly, eleven to twenty.

    Oriental Rugs Walter A. Hawley
  • Knots to inch horizontally seven to twelve; perpendicularly, eight to sixteen.

    Oriental Rugs Walter A. Hawley
  • Knots to inch horizontally, six to nine; perpendicularly, eight to twelve.

    Oriental Rugs Walter A. Hawley
  • Knots to inch horizontally, eight to eleven; perpendicularly, nine to twelve.

    Oriental Rugs Walter A. Hawley
  • Knots to inch horizontally, six to eleven; perpendicularly, seven to eleven.

    Oriental Rugs Walter A. Hawley
British Dictionary definitions for perpendicularly


Also normal. at right angles to a horizontal plane
denoting, relating to, or having the style of Gothic architecture used in England during the 14th and 15th centuries, characterized by tracery having vertical lines, a four-centred arch, and fan vaulting
upright; vertical
(geometry) a line or plane perpendicular to another
any instrument used for indicating the vertical line through a given point
(mountaineering) a nearly vertical face
Derived Forms
perpendicularity (ˌpɜːpənˌdɪkjʊˈlærɪtɪ) noun
perpendicularly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin perpendiculāris, from perpendiculum a plumb line, from per- through + pendēre to hang
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perpendicularly



late 15c., from adverb (late 14c.), from Old French perpendiculer, from Latin perpendicularis "vertical, as a plumb line," from perpendiculum "plumb line," from perpendere "balance carefully," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + pendere "to weigh, to hang" (see pendant). As a noun from 1570s. Related: Perpendicularly; perpendicularity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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perpendicularly in Science
Adjective  Intersecting at or forming a right angle or right angles.

Noun  A line or plane that is perpendicular to a given line or plane.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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